The aircraft touches down on the smooth tarmac close to the sea. A gentle voice announces the arrival at Thiruvananthapuram International Airport.

Click, click, click… The seat-belts begin to come off, even as the voice continues to advise, “All passengers are requested to remain seated, with their seat-belts fastened, and keep electronic equipments switched off until the aircraft comes to a standstill and the seat-belt sign is switched off… “

The click, click, click continues, followed by a jugalbandhi of  music from different cellphones being switched on.

The voice goes on, this time with a shred of tiredness and resignation, “You’re now allowed to switch your cellphones on.”

The five-year-old looks up at the seat-belt sign that is glowing as the plane slowly glides to a halt and asks, “Why do those people take the seat-belt off? See? The sign is still on.”

His mother replies just loud enough for the other passengers to hear, “Uh…. they must be used to jumping off moving trains…”


The bride stretches her neck forward and blushes.The Nadaswaram rises to a crescendo as the groom passes the yellow string around her neck. His sister, waiting right behind the bride, helps him tie the knot. The visitors in the front row throw handfuls of flowers at them. A man hiding behind the curtain pulls a clandestine rope and the pot hanging right above the couple overturns, showering them and everyone in the vicinity with flower petals. 
The bride and groom rise from their seats, garland each other, and her father places her hand on the groom’s, in a symbolic Kanyadaan
For the back-benchers, this is the cue to rise from their own seats and rush and push towards the hall where lunch is served, unmindful of the fact that the bride and groom have not even stepped down from the stage.

A non-Malayali, watching the exodus, asks, alarmed, “What happened? Where are they all off to??”

“Oh, don’t worry,” mutters the bride’s sister, pretending not to notice the rush at the door to the lunch-hall, “they must have skipped their breakfast for the sake of the sadya…”